Devotional Thought for Today – 03/24/2021

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Romans 6

Just about a year ago, I used this same verse in a devotional entitled Wages of Sin. My focus then was God’s call to salvation. Today however as I read this verse, something completely different bothered me, the actual phrase the wages of sin is death. 

Everyone likes getting “paid” for their work.  Even volunteers get paid in the sense they see the results of their efforts. For those with a job that has a monetary wage, that paycheck is their reward, their payoff for hard work. That is their WAGE, their RECOMPENSE, or REWARD.

I think for the first time I put it all together that “we” work hard for our final payment of death.  In other words, the payoff for all our hard work of living a sinful life, our reward,  is eternal death. Culture tells us to just live life to the fullest and damn the consequences.  The Bible makes clear the consequences. In the end,  there is no one else to blame, no one to turn to except ourselves, we are without excuse.  Maybe it is just me but I can think of far better rewards, can’t you?

As I noted in last year’s devotional; Is the Holy Spirit tugging on your heartstrings? Answer God’s call Repent of your sins and make Christ not only the savior of your life but Lord of your life today. 

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and deserving of eternal death and the lake of fire, I am not worthy to set my foot in Your heavenly home, but I believe that the Lord Jesus paid the price for my sins through His death on Calvary and I heed Your call, Your free gift of salvation and eternal life IN HIM. I ask that Christ be Lord of my life, let the Holy Spirit guide my paths that I may do Your will.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Romans/6/23

 

Failing to Do It!

Logos.com

 y al que sabe hacer lo bueno, y no lo hace, le es pecado. (RVR 1960) 

 

In yesterday’s devotional I used a verse from the book of Ezra (10:4) to expound on the differences between the worldly “Just Do It” and the Godly “Do It” callings. 

Today in our text we are going to look at another verse, this time from the New Testament that requires people to “Do It!”


Context:

Our text closes out Chapter 4 of the Epistle of James. Depending on what version/translation you have there may be a heading describing the theme of the closing verses (v.13-17) like:

CSB: Our Will and God’s Will

ESV: Boasting About Tomorrow

NKJV: Do Not Boast About Tomorrow

AMP: Things to Avoid (Note title for whole chapter) 

The AMP version title is a good overview of the Chapter that consists of differences between worldly sinful knowledge/wisdom and heavenly/Godly knowledge/wisdom. 

In verses 13-16 we I think a combination of the CSB and either the ESV or NKJV titles work best. A simplified breakdown shows that James is using the example of lethargic lazy people v.13, who will gladly put off today that which can be done tomorrow. He points out that in our finite minds we do not know the future v.14, What is your life? calling life nothing more than a mist or vapor. 

Verse 15 maybe one of the greatest advice lines ever written: Instead [of being that lethargic lazy fool] you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Instead v.16 you boast in your self glory.


BREAKDOWN:

 So –  A very powerful directive two letter word. Meaning considering all I have said before this, the only logical conclusion we can draw from it is…

whoever knows – while some will argue this is applicable only to believers I must whole heartily disagree. I would look to Romans 1:18-20 that declares all mankind is without excuses 

the right thing to do – man knows that which is right he chooses that which is evil. Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. This is not passive religiosity or spirituality, Christianity forbids and abhors that. God requires His chosen to be passionate and active in their faith. 

Earlier in James 1:22 we see this also But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

and fails to do it, – “Do It,” I hope by now it is clear that the “It” is any actionable “good” that can be done, that we are called to do for the glory of God.  James also makes it clear that Failing to Do It has serious consequences… 

for him it is sin. – Sin, for the unbeliever it is the rejection of the Gospel. For the believer it is the toe hold, Satan needs to keep you from carrying out the Great Commission to share the Good News of Christ. Failing to be doers of the word, being Sunday Pew Christians shows God how much you value His son’s sacrifice for your sins. That is why James says knowing and not acting is sin. Of course we all know the consequence or wages for sin (Romans 6:23) is eternal death.


Application: 

It is far to simple to be that nod your head in the pew on Sunday believer and go back to being in the world Monday through Saturday person. The problem is Christ never called us to a life of ease, He called us to a life of servitude. It is not good enough to know what is and hate what is evil and bad in the world. We are obligated and have a responsibility to do what we know is good. 

What are you doing for the Kingdom today? 

“I’m A Good Person”

I have over the last 20+ years of ministry heard every excuse imaginable for someone not liking the “Christian” faith or wanting to be associated with the Christian faith. I am sure you have heard them too, things like: 

“Christianity (or any religion) is just a crutch” comes from those who think they got it all together and do not need any ones help.

“My past makes me unworthy” while not as common as others this one has deep rooted guilt for past transgressions and can be very hard to overcome

“I’m not ready to change yet” Oh pity those who use this, for they are truly without excuse. They have an understanding of their sinful nature but love the dark side so much they are unwilling to give it up to soon.

“They are all a bunch of hypocrites” maybe the second most used; stemming from seeing them in bars on Saturday and church pews on Sunday. Or for many young folks that grew up in church it maybe they see any act of weakness on the part of church leaders (human nature) as hypocrisy instead of what it really is sin. Also under this category I hear things like ‘I don’t get a “religion” where you can just go sin and ask for forgiveness and all is okay’ referring to 1 John 1:9.

“I’m A Good Person” I have never killed or …. you have heard the list. Unfortunately they are comparing their standard of good to themselves and not that of the Creator of the Universe.


INTRODUCTION:

MAN IS NOT GOOD – Romans 3:23 all mankind has sinned, Romans 6:23 the righteous punishment for man’s sin is death

WITHOUT EXCUSERomans 1:20 (AMP)  For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. Man can come up with any excuse he wishes but none hold water before a righteous God. 

GOD PROVIDES THE ANSWER – Romans 5:8 God sent His only begotten Son to save mankind. 

Luke 19 10 | The son of man, Cool words, 10 things

Porque el Hijo del Hombre vino a buscar y a salvar lo que se había perdido. (RVR 1960)
CONTEXT:

Here we have the very essence of the Gospel. Jesus’s work at Calvary was for a specified purpose to save sinners, not every sinner as some believe (universalism), but as our text says the lost.

So who are these lost? In this story Luke 19:1-10 Jesus has an encounter with a rich Tax Collector named Zacchaeus. There are some things that need be pointed out here:

v.1-4 Zacchaeus first seeks after Jesus. Like so many we he sought in futility to get close to Jesus but failed.

v.5 Jesus tells Zacchaeus to stop seeking, stop trying on your own to save yourself, I must do the work.

v.6 There will always be naysayers, those with excuses to hate you and and Christ. Here the crowd grumbled at Jesus’s choice to associate with Zacchaeus. They thought him beneath them and so Jesus should ignore him.

v.7-10 Jesus rebukes them not so much in words (at first) but in actions. By going to Zacchaeus house Jesus makes it clear that He did not come to associate with the High and Mighty Holy Rollers, the Pious crowd of the  Pharisees and Sadducees. Remember Jesus’s 7 woes (warnings) to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.

No Jesus makes it clear, Zacchaeus and folks like him, the truly LOST are the reason I came to earth. Because man on his own is not Good enough to save himself from eternal damnation.

APPLICATION: 

I have used this many times, an old Army expression of mine “The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters”  I jokingly say I have heard them all, but God truly has heard the hearts Psalm 44:21 of all mankind. While you may think you are a good person, you will never be good enough to get to heaven on your own

Are you like Zacchaeus today? Making excuses feeling you can seek Jesus on your own terms? The time for excuses is over, the Holy Spirit is pricking at your heart strings and calling upon you to as Paul writes in Romans 10:9-13 (AMP)

… acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; for the same Lord is Lord over all [of us], and [He is] abounding in riches (blessings) for all who call on Him [in faith and prayer]. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”

 

God, who Gives us the Victory

One of my morning devotionals included 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. With so many Psalm 51:worldwide sick and dying from COVID-19 I thought it an appropriate subject for today’s devotional. – Mike 

Arlington National Cemetery expansion gets county okay ...
Arlington National Cemetery

If you have never been and visited Arlington National Cemetery it is a sobering and solemn trip worth taking.  The men and women interned there gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, they understood the Sting of Death, so that America could have a Victory. 

The question is, are they and we a part of the Greatest Victory ever; the one that defeated Death Eternal. 

1 Corinthians 15:55–57 - Graphics for the Church

¿Dónde está, oh muerte, tu aguijón? ¿Dónde, oh sepulcro, tu victoria? 56 ya que el aguijón de la muerte es el pecado, y el poder del pecado, la ley. 57 Mas gracias sean dadas a Dios, que nos da la victoria por medio de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. (RVR 1960) 
CONTEXT:

We all know or at should know and understand that mankind is born with a sin nature (Psalm 51:5). That God is righteous and as such could not tolerate eternity with sinful people (even His chosen) so the only just thing was death  Romans 6:23. 

If you are a truly converted, fully repented, Born again believer who as Christ not only as savior but LORD of your life, then you should also know and feel reassured that eternal life is yours John 3:36, 1 John 5:11–13.

1st Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to set some things straight that had gone astray in the church at Corinth. The church was immature (young) and was in danger of falling away into false teachings and doctrines.

Chapter 15

is all about understand the Resurrection of Christ Jesus. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary breaks it down this way:

The apostle proves the resurrection of Christ from the dead. (1-11) Those answered who deny the resurrection of the body. (12-19) The resurrection of believers to eternal life. (20-34) Objections against it answered. (35-50) The mystery of the change that will be made on those living at Christ’s second coming. (51-54) The believer’s triumph over death and the grave, An exhortation to diligence. (55-58)

v.55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

What is it that a true believer has to fear about death? Death is little more than a bee sting. He who ruled the fleshly world (Satan) has himself been conquered. We should all have the attitude of Paul, I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is oto depart and pbe with Christ, for that is far better. (Philippians 1:23). I am not saying we should wish for death but absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) is not a bad option. 

v.56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 

The only way death can sting us is through sin. The only way we understand the power, guilt and depth of our transgressions against god is the Law.  It amazes me today that mankind seems to want nothing to do with Christian-Judaeo values or morals they would rather live in a world of all out chaos and despair.  WARNING, watch what you wish for. 

v.57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen and Amen; this Victory is all from God and has nothing to do with us. God gives the Victory, that death and hell had targeted for us (True Believers), through Christ alone 1 Timothy 2:5.

CONCLUSION:

Believers should praise God daily for the Victory over Death. We should be living our lives in a manner of gratitude that reflects our awe and reverence for the Greatest Sacrifice ever made; the one made by Christ at Calvary for you and me. That life should be one ready to me death head on but wanting to share life for the Glory of God. 

Wages of Sin

The Book of Romans is often described as an explanation of the Old Testament in the Light of Christ. The Gospel and the Righteousness of God are its main themes. In an effort to make clear these themes man’s sin nature is clearly expressed throughout. Probably the most famous or oft quoted is Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned…”

That leaves a conundrum, for a Righteous God can not have sinful servants running around they must be punished. What is the penalty for this sinfulness? 

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR1960)

Porque la paga del pecado es muerte, mas la dádiva de Dios es vida eterna en Cristo Jesús Señor nuestro.

Note that God is not such a “hardcase” that He leaves no man with no way out. There is an escape from Eternal Damnation, it is called Salvation in Christ alone, through Faith in Him Alone to the Glory of God Alone. 

Is the Holy Spirit tugging on your heart strings? Answer God’s call Repent of your sins and make Christ not only the savior of your life but Lord of your life today. 

 

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 03 May

It has been a little over a week since my last post. My wife and I went to Puerto Rico to visit my suegra, mother-in-law for her 80th birthday. We were in a dead zone, with no internet, (none at local restaurants either) and intermittent cell and data service. It had been about 41 years since my last trip to the island, much had changed and nothing had changed. I will be posting an expanded article with pics later.

SIN AND JUDGEMENT

I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity – Isaiah 13:11

The wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23

Take heed an hour produce not that which may shame us forever. – George Hutcheson

The farther from sin the more distance from dangers. – William Jenkyn

Pollution is the forerunner of perdition. – John Trapp

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. Today topic ACCEPTING AND SUBMITTING